Crews search for missing after twisters

Published 10:23 am Monday, May 11, 2015

VAN, Texas — Emergency responders searched through wreckage in parts of Texas and Arkansas early Monday after a line of tornadoes battered several small communities, killing at least two people and injuring dozens of others.

As many as 10 people were still missing at daybreak, raising the possibility that the number of dead could climb.

Two people who lived in adjoining mobile homes in Nashville, Arkansas, were killed after several twisters were reported late Sunday.

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Howard County Sheriff Brian McJunkins told KLSA-TV that two other people in the town about 50 miles north of Texarkana were critically hurt.

In neighboring Texas, a likely tornado pummeled the small city of Van. Chuck Allen, the fire marshal and emergency management coordinator for Van Zandt County, said about 30 percent of the community was damaged.

Ten adults were unaccounted for and 26 had been taken to hospitals. The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear. About 50 people stayed overnight at a church shelter, Allen said Monday at a news conference.

The damage ranged “from completely destroyed homes, damaged homes, to trees and power lines down,” Allen said in an email to The Associated Press.

Authorities were going door to door in the city of 2,600 about 70 miles southeast of Dallas, searching for injured people.

Utility companies were working to restore damaged infrastructure, and road and bridge crews sought to reopen streets and highways to provide access to first responders, he said.

The American Red Cross planned to open a shelter at First Baptist Church in Van, Allen said. Calls to the church rang unanswered early Monday.